A group of American students got a taste of the NSW justice system recently, visiting Lithgow’s jail.
Thirty students from Michigan State University Law School clocked up 21 years at Lithgow Correctional Centre in the state’s Central West with their visit last month to study Australian government and justice.
Criminal Justice students from the US university have been visiting the centre annually as part of a research tour to study Australia’s justice system in conjunction with Corrective Services NSW and the University of NSW.
Lithgow Governor Mick Dudley said that the tour was an excellent opportunity for the students to see and compare the differences between laws, agencies and correctional centre operations in NSW and Michigan.
“It’s a fantastic way for these future lawmakers and law enforcement officials to experience first-hand the realities that many of our dedicated staff face in keeping the community safe,” Mr Dudley said.
“As well, it also brings in extra revenue for the community, as these regular visitors enjoy the area’s wonderful food and hospitality.”
Mr Dudley said the students and their lecturers were given a hands-on, interactive experience of the prison.
“After going through all scanning, screening and property-searching routines and being introduced to the Lithgow management team, the students learned about rehabilitation programs, as well as visits routines, processes and facilities for inmates and families.”
The Immediate Action Team, Security Operations Group and K9 Unit gave a security awareness briefing to ensure the young international students were fully prepared for their tour of a maximum-security centre.
The students were then escorted in groups by custodial staff, with inmates confined to work locations or secure yards during the tour.
Mr Dudley said the students were genuinely impressed by the level of technological operations at the prison, as well as the number of rehabilitation programs, and what a difference these programs make to offenders’ lives.
“They’re often surprised how respectful our maximum-security inmates are, and how, unlike in the US, all nationalities live, work and socialise together,” Mr Dudley said.
“The feedback we’re given every year is that the visit and inspection of Lithgow Correctional Centre is an absolute highlight of their academic tour to Australia and New Zealand.”